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New trustee chairman named at UK’s Royal Mail

UK – Jane Newell is to take over from Roy Chapman as chairman of Royal Mail Pension Trustees Ltd., which oversees the 12 billion-pound (18 billion-euro) deficit-hit Royal Mail pension scheme.

Newell, who is a non-executive director of United Utilities Plc, will take over at the end of December. Chapman is retiring after 10 years in the role.

“Mrs Newell will lead the trustees in their stewardship of the Royal Mail Pension Fund,” the Royal Mail Group said in a statement.

The fund, one of the largest in the UK with around 438,000 members, has been in the news recently. Media reports have suggested it could invest more heavily in fixed income amid a doubling of the parent company’s pension bill.

Newell is chairman of three other pension schemes: United Utilities, the united Utilities Group of the Electricity Supply scheme and the Dixons Group scheme. She is also Pro-Chancellor and chair of the Board of Governors of London South Bank University and a vice president of the Liverpool School of Topical medicine.

Trustees of the scheme, which in 2003 was discovered to have a 2.5 billion-pound deficit, are reported to be keen on reconsidering the fund’s exposure to equities.

The Royal Mail group currently funds the pension fund’s deficit to the tune of 310 million pounds a year but recently said it would increase contributions to 450 million pounds.

The bill, however, could soar to 800 million pounds if the fund’s investment strategy were changed to rely more on bonds in a bid to clear the deficit in a shorter period than the intended 40 years.

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